What is Love Anyway ?

What is Love

Years ago, in the early days of my relationship with my husband, I had a twisted view of the nature of love. It was one that had been formed after spending my teenage years glued to General Hospital and my early 20s watching one romantic comedy after another. As a result, I thought my husband loved me if he: Knew exactly what I wanted for my birthday without me telling him. Loved every gift I ever gave him, just because I was the one who gifted it. Remembered every significant date in the history of our couple hood, and did something romantic on these dates, without my prompting. Wanted to spend all of his free time with me. Who needs bicycles (his passion), beer (he’s a connoisseur) and friends when you have me? Did fifty percent of the housework without being asked. Validated me by telling me that I was beautiful, smart and funny. Did whatever I asked of him. It took many years and the near end of my marriage for me to see that this wasn’t love. Rather it was torture, both for him and for me. It took years for me to realize that he’s not clairvoyant, and neither am I. More important, our inner worlds are fundamentally different. For example, he has a need to have the house only so clean. I have a need to have it a lot cleaner. How could he know that I thought he was doing less than fifty percent if he thought he was doing 100 percent of what was needed? I could go on, but you get the idea. Now that we’ve worked on our marriage and have grown closer, I’ve completely changed my view of what love is and isn’t.

Love is…

1. Telling your partner what you want for your birthday, because you want to see the look of satisfaction on his face when you open your gift and see that he got you exactly what you wanted. 2. Getting your partner exactly what he asks for on his birthday, even though you just can’t imagine why he would ever want such a thing to begin with. 3. Accepting a gift you really don’t want with grace, because you know the love was in the effort of picking it out and not in the accuracy of getting the right thing. 4. Understanding that you and your partner are different in many ways, and being okay with that. Just because he doesn’t love your decorating taste or your hobbies doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. 5. Understanding that you and your partner do not share the same brain. You are two distinct and very different people. As a result, he will never completely know you, understand you, get you or be able to read your mind. The love is in watching him try, even if he’s not very good at it, and in helping him to get to know you better. 6. Continually trying to get to know your spouse better, even though you know you will never truly know him completely. 7. Understanding that you will both be attracted to many different people during the course of your marriage and not feeling threatened by that. Love is not blind to the big boobies, nice rears, and other attractive features of the opposite sex. Love is continually making the choice to exert self-control when you are tempted not to, and in trusting your spouse to do the same. 8. Trusting your spouse even though you don’t know where he is or what he is doing every minute of every day. 9. Giving your spouse space when he needs it, even though you really want to envelop him. 10. Teaching your spouse how to please you in bed. 11. Teaching your spouse how to romance you. 12. Teaching your spouse how to support you. 13. Stretching yourself to do what is needed to make your relationship work, even though this sometimes makes you uncomfortable. 14. Letting go of your need to be right and, instead, agreeing to either disagree or compromise somewhere in the middle. 15. Taking turns supporting one another as you go after various life dreams. 16. Occasionally carrying your spouse, in a figurative sense, when your spouse is too weak to walk on his own two feet. 17. Allowing your spouse to struggle through life most of the time, because most of the time he’s not too weak to walk on his own two feet. This allows him to grow into better, stronger, happier person. 18. Knowing that your spouse is constantly growing and changing. You embrace this, even if you find it threatening. 19. Refusing to enable your spouse by continually “being there” when your services are not truly needed. 20. Asking your spouse to support you as you grow, but not expecting your spouse to do everything for you so you don’t have to grow. 21. Planning how you will celebrate important relationship milestones together, because neither one of you wants the other to be disappointed on your anniversary.